And just like that we come to the end of the regular season. 12 weeks have never flown by so fast. Especially for someone who has to go back to work from paternity leave on Monday. Sad times.
Yet this particular Thanksgiving weekend gives us the chance to see potentially the first undefeated season in the history of the Pac-12 and to see it from our Washington Huskies. It’s unfortunate then that there’s also the chance, for the first time in the Pac-12 era, to also see 3 other power conference undefeateds entering conference championship week.
That’s not a complete fait accompli though. The stakes for the rooting guide are quite clear at this point. There’s almost zero ambiguity. Read the party line on each of the games below and root your hearts out, folks.
SUGGESTED VIEWING/ROOTING GUIDE (all times PT)
FRIDAY, November 24
9:00 AM: TCU (5-6) at #13 Oklahoma (8-2), FOX
DraftKings Betting Line: Oklahoma -10
The Big 12 this year is what the Pac-12 is in most seasons. In other words, a mess. There are still up to 7 teams still alive for a spot in the Big 12 title game depending on who wins on the final weekend. Texas and Oklahoma State are both “win and they’re in”. Oklahoma appears to have the next best odds of that group. Husky fans are rooting for Texas to lose at least one more time and the Sooners are the only team to have already beaten the Longhorns. So it stands to reason that rooting for a rematch isn’t a bad thing.
1:00 PM: Air Force (8-3) at Boise State (6-5), FS1
DraftKings Betting Line: Boise State -7
There isn’t a lot going on in the midday slot where the only other game is Missouri vs. Arkansas. That game doesn’t really have any kind of implications for the Huskies. Boise State on the other hand can make Washington’s strength of schedule look better by closing out the season with a win against a good Air Force team that is trending in the wrong direction.
4:30 PM: Texas Tech (6-5) at #7 Texas (10-1), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Texas -14
There are plenty of national people who keep expecting the Huskies to lose by virtue of having played 7 straight games within 10 points. That’s not unreasonable. Texas hasn’t exactly been blowing out teams lately either with 4 of their last 5 games decided by 10 points or fewer including an OT win and a pair of single score victories against unranked teams. It would be a stretch to think that Texas Tech could actually win this game but they are on a 3-game winning streak themselves (all within 7 points) even with starting QB Tyler Shough injured and now in the transfer portal. A win by the Red Raiders officially knocks the Big 12 out of the Playoff hunt which is good news for Washington.
5:30 PM: #16 Oregon State (8-3) at #6 Oregon (10-1), FOX
DraftKings Betting Line: Oregon -14
If you could guarantee that Washington will win against whoever they face in the Pac-12 title game then you’d actually want a Ducks victory here. Besides the fact that it would be hilarious for Oregon to have their only 2 losses both against Washington, a 2nd win against Oregon should be enough to move them into at least 3rd place in the CFP rankings and avoid a potential opening round date with Georgia.
But unless you’ve spoken to someone with a time machine lately, you can’t make that guarantee. Which means that Husky fans’ #1 priority should be getting the easiest possible matchup in the Pac-12 title game. That means wanting Oregon out of there. If the Beavs win this game and Arizona beats ASU then the Ducks are out and the Wildcats are in. It would make the win over Oregon look worse but improve the win against Oregon State and improve UW’s chances of reaching the final selection show with a 13-0 record. Go Beavs.
SATURDAY, November 25
9:00 AM: #2 Ohio State (11-0) at #3 Michigan (11-0), FOX
DraftKings Betting Line: Michigan -3.5
Once again, this is likely to be the biggest game of the college football regular season (although a retrospective argument for UW vs. Oregon this year could be made). The winner of this game just needs to beat Iowa’s inept offense in the Big Ten title game to clinch a spot in the CFP.
Husky fans certainly won’t find it easy to root for either one of their future conference brethren. Michigan is embroiled in a cheating scandal. Ohio State has come in and taken several of the top recruits in the Seattle area away in recent years. It would be great to see them both lose.
But realistically, Washington should be hoping for an Ohio State victory. The only way the result truly matters for the Huskies is if a 12-1 UW team is trying to sneak into the top-4. In that scenario we’re hoping that the loser of this game at 11-1 doesn’t match up with Washington’s resume. Should Michigan lose this game then they would only have one win against a top-35 team versus at least four such victories for the Huskies. Given this would be a home loss, the current cheating scandal, and especially if it isn’t close, it’s tough to see the committee putting in an 11-1 Michigan squad.
They would be much more willing to include an 11-1 Ohio State team whose one loss then would’ve been on the road and who also have a road win against Notre Dame that is missing from Michigan’s schedule. As much as it hurts, we’re hoping for a sizable Buckeye victory and then hopefully a game against them in the Rose Bowl as part of the CFP.
9:00 AM: Kentucky (6-5) at #10 Louisville (10-1), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Louisville -7.5
This one isn’t nearly as important as Ohio State/Michigan but it’s still pretty clear who we’re rooting for. Louisville needs to win out and hope for complete chaos in order to make it into the top four with their paltry resume. They’ve already clinched a spot against Florida State in the ACC title game. A loss here would both completely knock Louisville out of CFP contention but also damage the value of a potential Florida State win in the title game. The small boost a Kentucky win would give to Georgia and Bama’s resumes is worth it.
12:30 AM: #15 Arizona (8-3) at Arizona State (3-8), ESPN
DraftKings Betting Line: Arizona -10.5
We’ll know by the time this game kicks off whether it truly matters in the context of the Pac-12 title race. If Oregon beats Oregon State on Friday night then Arizona is eliminated from contention for the Pac-12 championship game and can at best finish 3rd. Should Oregon State win that game then Husky fans are rooting hard for Zona to avoid the upset. Either way, UW should be hoping for an Arizona win. The Sun Devils pulling off this win would make Washington’s close game against them look a little better. But it’s more valuable to get Arizona potentially into the top-12 or so by winning this game and having that road win on the resume.
12:30 PM: #8 Alabama (10-1) at Auburn (6-5), CBS
DraftKings Betting Line: Alabama -14.5
I’m putting all the games that could impact Washington on here just in case. But do we really think that Auburn, coming off a 21-point home loss to New Mexico State (go Aggies!) are going to turn around and beat Alabama? No, they’re not. But if they somehow did then it likely removes the Tide from consideration even if they respond by beating Georgia in the SEC title game.
1:00 PM: Washington State (5-6) at #4 Washington (11-0), FOX
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington -16.5
4:00 PM: #5 Florida State (11-0) at Florida (5-6), ESPN
DraftKings Betting Line: Florida State -6.5
I feel bad for Florida State having lost their star quarterback for the season so close to the promised land. It sucks. But we’re looking out for us and our own. A Florida victory here would almost certainly knock the Seminoles out of contention even if they turn around and beat Louisville to win the ACC title game. The committee is going to evaluate how they look in the last 2 games without Travis and a loss to Florida here would be even more damaging than it would’ve been otherwise by suggesting they have taken a big step back. Florida almost beat Missouri last week but also has lost a lot of dumb games. They’re talented enough to win but probably not organized enough to do so.
4:30 PM: #1 Georgia (11-0) at Georgia Tech (6-5), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Georgia -24
Don’t even dare to dream.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.